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The McCleary case is not over, says the state superintendent 

click to enlarge State Superintendent Chris Reykdal
  • State Superintendent Chris Reykdal

Last year, the state Legislature came up with an elaborate plan to end the long-running McCleary court case and fully fund schools. It was dubbed a "levy swap," raising property taxes but capping the amount school districts could raise in local levies.

Districts like Spokane are quickly learning that won't be a sustainable solution in the coming years. That's why Chris Reykdal, state superintendent of public instruction, has come up with his own plan: A CAPITAL GAINS TAX, which would generate $1 billion per year. Half of the money would go toward reducing state property taxes and the other half on state education priorities.

"I believe this state has made great progress but is on an unsustainable path in the way we are funding the McCleary decision," Reykdal said at a press conference Tuesday.

His proposed capital gains tax would not apply to business, agricultural lands, timber lands or residential home sales.

"Our neighbors have [a capital gains tax]," Reykdal says. "Most of the country has it."

He would also let school districts to raise more in levies.

"We were never comfortable with taking away the ability of local communities to enhance their schools," Reykdal says of the levy swap. "Local levies typically fund afterschool programs, early learning and other vital programs."

Reykdal's proposed budget aims to focus on student groups who "need the most support," like students with disabilities, students of color and low-income students. He says it's time for the Legislature to "double down" on its investment in students, to "finish the job that focuses on equity and closing gaps and getting every kid graduate."

The original print version of this article was headlined "Fixing the McCleary Fix"

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